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Overcoming turbulent times

We all know that most of our staple foods are a result of seeds initially buried below the surface. Underground, there is no light. It’s a place of darkness. Once the seed is blessed with some moisture, it starts to under-go a process of germination, then growth, starts to blossom into flowers and multiplies into other seeds. While the seed is still buried in the ground, it might feel like it is incapacitated and in discomfort, but the purpose of why it’s there underneath is because it is intended to give it a new beginning, a new life. Thereafter it may then realise that it was not actually “buried”, but rather “implanted” in the soil for a divine purpose, for it to live and to multiply.

Sundayword BY PROSPER TINGINI

We also undergo the same process. Both humans and all other mammals start off as embryos entombed either in the womb or egg. That initial enclosure itself is a place of darkness with no light to it. The embryo is a living thing, but it can’t see during that period. It might question why it is in such a totally dark place, and for what? However, the Lord’s purpose is that although it’s a dark place, that confinement is meant to nourish the embryo by giving it an uninterrupted supply of food from its host. It is meant to be blessed with food for its growth, for it to live and to multiply both in body and spirit. In real life, we also undergo dark periods in our lives whose purpose might be to grow us in many ways, including our faith.

The earth started off as a continuous dark place, but then the Lord ordered that there be light (Genesis 1:3). After the light was upon the earth, He made it to blossom by creating everything that is upon it today. Equally so, some dark moments in our lives are meant to be places of hibernation to open up to new periods of blossom. Some trying times are meant to give us new and brighter beginnings. We are sometimes meant to cross some valleys of darkness to get to our God-given destinations. It is the divine state of things. Life will always give us some dark moments that can eventually lead us into some bright beginnings.

Our scriptures carry numerous examples of personalities who underwent periods of darkness in their lives. It was God’s purpose to test their faith and those who passed the tests were anointed to positions of greatness and prosperity.
Abraham must have undergone a period of total darkness when he was instructed by God to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). After he passed the test, an angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven and spoke: “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore.” Abraham’s moment of darkness was meant to measure his faith in the Lord, and on passing the test of that period of darkness, was anointed to be the father of nations.

We also have the story of Joseph, son of Jacob. In a fit of jealousy his brothers conspired to kill him, but later agreed to sell him as a slave to passing traders. They threw him into a dark pit to await his fate (Genesis 37:18-28). He could have spent days in the pit of darkness thinking that it was the end of him, yet it was God’s plan to Joseph’s destiny. As the story unfolded, he was taken out of the dark pit, sold to passing Ishmaelites, sold again to an Egyptian army officer, imprisoned on false rape charges and spent many years in prison. To a normal human being, it surely can’t be any darker period than this, yet Joseph calmly endured this time of darkness in his life. Once God saw that he had passed the test of endurance, He pushed him to the most crucial political and economic position in the land of Egypt — a governor. He became a saviour of the people of Egypt and all surrounding lands by averting a catastrophic famine of seven years of drought. His destination was that of a high office and to save millions of lives from death by starvation. Joseph crossed from the valley of darkness into the anointed period of light and prosperity by keeping his faith in the Lord.

We all go through a life of turbulence in one way or the other. Life is a mixture of hard times and good times, pain and pleasure. While there will always be periods of rain and sunshine, there is no cloud that can prevent the sun from shining. We don’t grow up mentally, physically and spiritually in good times alone; but we also grow in the tough times, which prepare us for the next levels of our lives.

Those who have flown in aeroplanes will attest to the fact that while it would seem that it should be very calm and smooth up there in the open skies, that is not actually the case. Both the plane and its passengers will always experience some turbulence as it passes high above the mountains. A change of air density will also ultimately affect the flight. As in life, there are always unseen obstacles along the way.

The Biblical David was from an early age destined to be a king, but the way to the throne was bedevilled by impediments of every kind. At one time he had to flee and live in exile in fear of persecution by the man he was to succeed, Saul. The book of 1 Samuel, chapters 19-23, carries the story of David’s dark times and the turbulence, of his ups and downs, yet his faith prevailed. He went on to be King. Even thereafter the turbulence persisted. While he was a God-fearing man, he succumbed to the human desires of the flesh and fell in love with a married woman, Bathshe’ba. He later conspired with his army general to have his lover’s husband, Uri’ah, killed at the war front, successfully. His good character and good faith was mixed with bad habits, just as is the case with most of us. A mixture of good and evil brings turbulence in our spiritual lives.

In the New Testament we also have the story of Paul. He used to dwell in a place of spiritual darkness, persecuting followers of Christ left, right and centre. In one instant, light struck him and he was transformed into a new person. Acts of the Apostles 9: 3-9 speaks of Saul’s instantaneous crossing from the valley of spiritual darkness to that of light. His conversion reads: “Now as he journeyed, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ and he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ and he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what to do’.”

Just like Saul who was then renamed Paul on spiritual transformation, some of us also are in need of this spiritual metamorphosis. We encounter periods of darkness and turbulence in the physical realm and in our everyday life, yet it might not bring any light to some of us. Some of the difficulties and obstacles we encounter in our lives are meant to grow our faith in the Lord and take us to new levels where we are destined to be what God intends us to be. We are supposed to cross the dark valleys into the valleys of light where we are connected to the Creator. Our souls should always shine within us and remain anchored to God. He is the light, the way and the destination.

Prosper Tingini is the assembly president of the newlyestablished and registered Children of God Missionary Assembly. As an interdenominational body, I invite all who wish to undertake Bible studies with a view to be certified as Ministers of Religion to contact me on 0771 260 195 either by voice, SMS or WhatsApp. Email address: ptingini@gmail.com

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